After the birth and first year of THE COLUMN, I thought just for fun as the Editor/Founder of THE COLUMN that I would pick and announce my personal picks for the best in DFW Theater.
This "first" ceremony was actually just a special issue of THE COLUMN sent out to the readers. After that issue, several friends would tell me, "You know, you should hold an actual ceremony for those awards."
Everyone knows how addicted I am to ALL award shows, from the Oscars to the Tonys. I just get a major high from all the excitement, suspense, and drama that surround awards and award shows. Who will get nominated? Who will win? What will they wear? And so on.
Plus I am a sucker for big, fun-filled parties, friendship, and unity! So how much fun would it be to bring the ENTIRE theater community together for one night to celebrate, laugh, cry, and honor the ENTIRE Dallas-Fort Worth theater community?
As an actor, I have worked everywhere, from Casa Manana, Stage West, etc. to practically every company here in Dallas. I knew I was not alone in this. ALL thespians, designers, directors, musical directors, choreographers, etc. work ALL over the metroplex. We go everywhere to work in the art we all love so much: theater. We are ALL connected somehow. So why not? Why not have a great night to bring us all together like a big ole family reunion?!
Then I thought, "Hmmm. There are no awards given in the metroplex that honor the entire metroplex. From equity to Community theaters."
Then another idea, "And what about if we donate the ticket money to a charity? Like BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS!"
It was that small seed in my tiny brain that begin the birth and creation of THE COLUMN Awards Organization.
Over the next two years I gathered a group of close friends and we worked like insane, hyperactive bees in creating the very first Gala at the Plaza Theater in Garland.
I no longer picked my own choices, but instead left it all up to the subscribers to vote. Thus it fell to the hands and voices of THE COLUMN subscribers to choose the best in DFW Theater. Remember Reader's Poll?
During these eight years I've had some amazing, brilliant, and hard working individuals assist each year to bring the gala to life. It is a MAJOR undertaking that now takes over a year in advance preparation to create.
These friends became "Advisory Board Members". Some have been with me from the very beginning. Slowly over the years, came the creation of the Board of Directors. The Board serving today contains a group of dedicated, immensely talented, and highly qualified individuals that do outstanding work each year. They believe in THE COLUMN Awards primary goal: To honor excellence in Theater within the entire Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.
- THE COLUMN Awards in 2006 was voted BEST LOCAL AWARDS SHOW by the DALLAS OBSERVER.
- THE COLUMN Awards is the ONLY Awards organization in the ENTIRE United States that donate all their proceeds (after operating expenses) to BC/EFA.
- THE COLUMN Awards has been recognized by EQUITY News, PLAYBILL, THE DALLAS VOICE, DALLAS MAGAZINE, BROADWAY.COM, BROADWAYWORLD.COM, TALKINBROADWAY.COM, BROADWAYSTARS.COM, and BC/EFA.
- THE COLUMN Awards for the last three years have been named as major contributors in the Angel Campaign of BC/EFA.
- In 2007 THE COLUMN Awards became a 501C Organization.
With all this recognition THE COLUMN Awards have been extremely grateful and lucky to have major stars from the worlds of Broadway, Film, and Television attend the gala as Guest stars and performers.
Past guest stars have included Anthony Rapp (Original "Mark" in Broadway's RENT); Michael Urie (SAG nominee, UGLY BETTY); Christian Campbell (TRICK, BOOK OF DANIEL); Stephanie D'Abruzzo (Tony Nominee for AVENUE Q); George Wendt (CHEERS, Emmy winner); and Richard Thomas (WALTONS, Emmy winner).
Other celebrities sent via personal letters their support and congratulations to THE COLUMN Awards as well. Such as two time Tony Award winner and Broadway legend Chita Rivera, 2007 Tony Award winner Christine Ebersole (GREY GARDENS), and Golden Globe/Emmy/SAG winner, America Ferrera (UGLY BETTY).
In the last eight years if you have been nominated for a COLUMN Award, or be one of those lucky few that now possess a crystal COLUMN Award. Remember that you were voted by your peers. Those who work in front and behind the curtain have deemed your work this honor.
THE COLUMN also has hundreds of subscribers who are just die-hard fans and supporters of theater. So you are also being nominated and honored by the very people who sit in the audience admiring your work on stage, or your direction, or design elements, and so on.
Since that first year we have constantly changed, evolve, and learn from our highs and lows within the organization. This brings us to the 2008 Column Awards!
THE COLUMN Awards are divided into two distinct classifications, equity and non equity.
To be eligible for EQUITY classification, your production must have at least one (1) equity contract offered and signed. This can be either acting or technical contact (i.e. Stage Manager).
If there are NO equity contracts and NO equity performers in your production-then that production will be listed in the NON EQUITY classification.
The thought and reason for this distinction was so that we honor ALL theater companies. THE COLUMN Awards and I strongly believe that the same passion, dedication, and commitment goes into both equity and non-equity shows. Thus we strive to include and honor our smaller companies as well, not just the larger Theater companies. Remember-Unity is the key here.
Any Theater Company in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is eligible if the following guidelines have been established:
- The production(s) that are submitted must have been performed and produced in the calendar year that is set up by the Column Awards Board of Directors and its Executive Director.
- Said production must run in their regular season. It CANNOT be productions that were performed in festivals, stage readings, special series, benefit shows, or one night only events.
- Said production must run at least five public performances.
- Said production MUST be listed on their official websites, brochures, and other assorted publicity materials. These tools are used as verification by THE COLUMN Awards Board of Directors, the Executive Director/Producer, and Theater Liaisons.
- In the case(s) of DOUBLE CASTING or UNDERSTUDIES, both cast performers can be eligible in the role(s) that they performed.
All the above has been cleared and verified by the Board for this year's eligible productions. During these last six months, theater liaisons have been in constant contact with their appointed theater companies.
The board liaisons sent out nomination ballots to ONLY the following: Artistic Directors, Directors, and/or Producers of those ELIGIBLE companies and productions.
These Artistic Directors, Producers, and/or Directors would then put ALL eligible performers/designers/production staff in the appropriate categories on the ballot.
This means they had SOLE control of where to put down individual performances in what categories they deemed fit in regards to that person's role on stage. The Board of Directors and Executive Director/Producer had NO SAY in this. This was totally left at the discretion of the director, etc.
Artistic Directors, Producers, and/or Directors were allowed to list the ENTIRE cast in whatever categories they felt was appropriate.
However, when it comes to large casts (i.e. ensembles), not everyone can be listed. Thus, when it came to ensembles, the Artistic Director, Producer, and/or Director would then decide which (if any) ensemble members were eligible in the "Featured" categories.
Ballots not turned in the allotted time to their respective theater liaison resulted in that Production and/or Theater Company not allowed participation in this year's THE COLUMN Awards.
Since that time, all Board of Directors, the Executive Director/Producer, and Theater liaisons have been data entering ALL those nominations for the ROUND ONE BALLOT.
ONLY and ONLY those who are registered subscribers to THE COLUMN are eligible to vote. NO EXCEPTIONS.
PLEASE NOTE: You must have been a registered COLUMN subscriber BEFORE December 31, .
The system we have does show the date when you "officially" signed up on THE COLUMN and that is the date we must go by.
This is to keep voter fraud down. It is NOT fair for friends & family to join THE COLUMN during Awards season just so that they can vote for you or your friends.
One of the privileges and immense responsibility of being a Column subscriber is the right to vote.
NO. That is a DEFINITE no. Not a single person that serves on the Board of Directors OR the Executive Director/Producer has ANY access whatsoever into the official voting ballot. We are very determined to keep your voting PRIVATE. So again-they have NO access into the system to see how you or anyone else voted.
Everyone is assigned a "voting code" when voting-which means your actual name or email address is NOT visible whatsoever when voting. Only the Director of the ballot design/tabulation has access to the voting codes-NO ONE ELSE DOES.
Thus your voting selections are kept completely confidential.
ROUND ONE voting is when every ELIGIBLE name, show, etc. is listed on the ballot. It's the first ballot that contains EVERY actor, designer, show, etc. that was provided by the Theater Companies.
The ballot for ROUND ONE is lengthy due to the overwhelming array of choices you have to choose from. So be prepared.
After the cut off date for ROUND ONE VOTING concludes, that weekend the Ballot Design team will tabulate ALL the votes.
The SIX (6) individuals, shows, etc. in EACH category that has the HIGHEST amount of votes will then become OFFICIAL nominees for the Column Awards.
It's just like the Academy Awards. They get a ballot in the mail with all the eligible films, performances, etc. for the calendar year. They vote on that ballot. Then Price-Waterhouse Accounting firm will tabulate those ballots, and the five individuals/movies, etc. that have the highest amount of votes become the final five nominees for the Oscar. THE COLUMN Awards are the same.
At this point the Ballot Design and Tabulating team will meet with the Executive Director/Producer and two Board of Directors in a closed meeting to let them know who the final nominees are are.